GT Academy: GTPlanet interviews Jann Mardenborough

May 4th, 2012 by Andrew Evans

With the GT5 GT Academy 2012 now available to gamers around the world, GTPlanet was able to get an interview with 2011 European GT Academy champion Jann Mardenborough. Jann was kind enough to answer a few questions for all the budding racing drivers and GT Academy hopefuls out there, to give insight into the before, during and after of the internationally successful Gamer-to-Racer program.

GTP: Hey Jann. It barely seems like a year since you were lining up to be Europe’s GT Academy champion and here we are at the 2012 Academy programs. With all that’s gone on in the last 11 months for you, do you have any advice to GTPlanet members about how to prepare for the event and the Boot Camp?

JM: Yes time has flown by since last year! My personal advice is to start training now, whether physical or gaming. You really do need to be on top form heading into the competition. It’s fierce and there’s so much competition out there the slightest edge may swing it your own way. Lucas gave me some advice for GT Academy last year, he said “improve on every event.” A simple one to aim for.

GTP: The final GT Academy prize – the Dubai 24 Hour race – is one serious challenge. 24 hours in desert heat and unusual hazards like drifting pyrotechnic display smoke. How did you train yourself for the physical and mental demands of such a race?

JM: The Dubai 24 Hour race is a tough race, you have to deal with vast amount of cars varying in speed and driver ability. It stays dark at that time of year for around 11hours too. Lots of challenges. Well the training I had at with GT Academy team has been the best. Driver mentors to put me on the correct path at a race weekend, lots of Rotax Max karting and of course physical training including a marathon! I had psychology training tied in with simulator sessions. All of that training helped the GT Academy team get a 3rd in class at the Dubai 24h.

GTP: Kazunori Yamauchi has intimated that this year’s qualifiers will be a different kind of challenge. Have you had a chance to trial this year’s GT Academy tests and do you have any sneak previews for what we should expect?

JM: This year qualifiers will be different, I hardly have any information on it yet. I’m checking GTPlanet as much as anybody else to find little bits of information! I’m just as excited as you guys are.

GTP: It has been a crazy 12 months for you – last May you were a gamer. After winning GT Academy at Silverstone you’ve raced at the major British circuits, Dubai, Monza (in a GT-R, no less!) and you seem to spend just about every weekend driving or testing – the bonkers Juke-R at Zolder last weekend, I hear. How have you adjusted to life as a professional racing driver and what do you do these days to relax?

JM: My life has been totally flipped up side down and shaken side to side since winner GT Academy! Lots and lots done and things I never expected to do (fly an aeroplane!). I’ve raced in countries I’ve just wanted to visit, and compete  a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 when I’ve watched videos of previous generation GT-R racing on YouTube. And when I’m not training or racing, I’m doing very cool PR events a lot of the time in the Juke-R! It’s just a massive privilege to have the responsibility to drive a 1 out of 1 car near the edge with a excited passenger on board. It’s a huge buzz. To relax, I think I’m like any other car enthusiast, I spend time working on my own personal car, see some friends and play games.

GTP: Many racing drivers have said they use racing games to familiarise themselves with tracks. Do you find GT5 a good tool for this – did you practice Monza (presumably the wet version!) in GT5 before your Blancpain series race there in April?

JM: It’s a great tool for learning new circuits. I did use GT5 for learning Monza for my race in the GT-R in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Though to learn the track I should have practised in a race situation rather than hot laps. Not much can prepare you when you’re behind another car with a wall of spray so thick you can barely see his rain lights at 170MPH!  Oh well you live and learn. A couple of days ago after I did the race at Monza,  I decided to boot up GT5 at Monza in the wet using a GT500 GT-R. I learnt that wet lines are stimulated in the game! Never knew that. Was crazy too, as I was doing the exact same wet lines in the game in real life.  For the next race for British GT at Nurburgring GP track, I’ll be using GT5 for track learning as well.

GTP: Since many of the comments on any GTP news page report on GT Academy and its winners revolve around demands for new DLC, what five cars and one track would form the Jann Mardenborough DLC Pack?

JM: DLC is always a hot topic. Haha, for the Jann Mardenborough 5 car and track bundle I’d pick.
1: Nissan Juke-R
2: Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 (I think we are all agreed on this one)
3: Peugeot 309 GTI  (Dad had one)
4: Ferrari 550 Maranello
5: 1991 BMW E30 318iS (My first car)
Track: Silverstone!

GTP: The GT Academy winners haven’t had the best of luck for this year, with dubious penalties, strange crashes and some horrific weather. I’m sure all of GTPlanet will get behind you all and wish you better fortune for the rest of the year – and thanks for the interview!

JM: Thank you, hopefully all GT Academy drivers can make some luck in their forthcoming races.

You can keep up with Jann’s exploits right here in the GTPlanet news blog, on the GT Academy Facebook page and by following him on Twitter @jannthaman

Images from nissan-racing.

Keep Reading

See more on , .

Follow us on your favorite social network for more updates!


Comments are now closed. Visit our forums for more discussion.

  1. May. 6, 8:33pm

    HEY KAZ WHAT ABOUT US GUYZ THAT WANT SOME TRUCKS maybe u could turn those standard trucks into premiums and add some proper chevy trucks non of that low ride crap and add some proper 8ft box proper height noo low ride!!!
    – any proper Chevy trucks from 1970-2012 dualy’s too
    -any proper dodge trucks from 1980-2012 dualy’s also
    – any proper ford trucks from 1986-2012 dualy’s as well


    • May. 6, 8:34pm


    • May. 12, 3:07pm

      I wouldn’t mind some premium trucks from the 70’s and 80’s. It would give us more variety when participating in that one truck race in A-Spec.

  2. May. 6, 7:17pm

    OBITUARY! —- GT 5 is DEAD!!!*** Look at the “Forza.Net” and notice the type of cars are in the Game. and please everyone I know quality when I see, and GT 5 is way behind. GT Academy, please!! so what, not everyone will win.

    Put some quality Tracks, Cars, decals, etc.

    GT 5 is SOFT!! lets face it, when was the last DLC.
    PD Kaz you need to wake up!!!!

    • May. 6, 8:22pm

      wow!! kaz are serius they have all the tracks weve been asking 4 4 months you pple really need to wake up hire more pple if u have too do u have any idea how many pple are looking 4 jobs hire them and catch up to forza do dlc every months and put some trucks and go kart tracks in them road america, road atlanta, silverstone and no i will not shut up until i get the trucks ive been asking 4

    • May. 7, 1:11am
      Pit Crew

      Its getting old. if GT5 is such a downer, dont play it. get over it. GT5 is what it is right now and no amount of flaming or complaining is gonna make it better. players have gotten so much love and hate from this title,and many have moved on , but the consistent weekly whine and cheez party has reached curfew, so put the dlown criticisms to bed already.

    • May. 9, 2:36am

      @nascarfn, the news on the grape vine is that Kaz read your comment and decided to drop what he was doing and concentrate solely on what you wanted added to the game, the next DLC will included a removal truck, a dustbin lorry, a street cleaning lorry and a coach. Also as a bonus feature we will have a seasonal event featuring a drift trial in the car delivery truck on the GT5 main menu.

  3. May. 6, 1:03am

    I am…so sick of Nissans…

    • May. 6, 8:47am

      premium trucks not standard

  4. May. 5, 8:57pm

    I love his Selections for his own DLC.
    Hopefully Kaz will add the first 2 cars and the Ferrari :D
    Also Silverstone :)

  5. May. 5, 2:11pm
    Pit Crew

    Looking at JM DLC suggestion, i would say he grew up going fast. Hope his experience in quick agile cars was better then my time growing up around Big Block Mopars,(389, 318 Respectively) which tended to make me “enjoy” the ride while hiding on the backseat floor. Good Fortune to you Jann.

    • May. 5, 2:58pm
      RB26 2jz

      I grew up around JDM and I am proud of it!

    • May. 6, 11:55am
      Pit Crew

      @RB26 2jz Yay ( Sarcastic )

  6. May. 4, 6:38pm

    more real go kart tracks from north america

    • May. 4, 9:07pm

      I hope so. I love using custom kart tracks. Mostly for driving cars on them in Arcade/Practice time trials, because there aren’t enough kart races to keep me interested. It’s one of the things that’ll have to wait for GT6, unless this next update adds things we/I never thought could be changed.

  7. May. 4, 3:10pm

    I have a feeling that Janns DLC picks are going to be DLC Pack 4 but Kaz said he couldn’t add GT3 cars to GT5 due to time so if they gave us the Nissan GTR GT3 then people are going to want more of that class of car so i think GT3 and possibly GT1 will be in GT6, i think thats best. Imagine GT3 and GT1 class racing on Bathrust in GT6, well worth the wait just for that.

    • May. 4, 3:43pm

      I believe Kaz only said that, because he was talking about not being able to add the modes/events in GT5. Adding the cars won’t be a problem. It’ll make sense that he’s holding off on releasing those kind of cars for GT6 though.

    • May. 4, 5:50pm

      They should have a GT3 class DLC WIth GT-R GT3, SLS AMG GT3, Audi R8 LMS, Ferrari 458 GT3, etc

      Add in an event creator and a Livery/paint editor like in NFS Shift 2 and you can make your own racing team and racing series.

  8. May. 4, 2:54pm

    Awesome wheel/tires on that R35. They look so chunky.

    • May. 4, 3:43pm

      The wheel looks like a trophy in front of Jann lol

    • May. 4, 9:07pm

      looks like a wheel to me

  9. May. 4, 2:19pm

    I would chose
    Ferrari F50
    All Hennessy Cars like the Venom GT
    Bugatti Veyron Supersport
    Koenig. CCXR and CCX
    Mercedes Benz CLK LM Road Car
    Aston Martin One 77

    • May. 4, 2:20pm

      Along with Silverstone are a track

    • May. 4, 2:21pm

      I also forgot
      Ferrari FXX and
      Ferrari 599XX

    • May. 4, 5:45pm

      I would choose:

      BMW F10 M5
      Bugatti Veyron SS
      SSC Ultimate Aero TT
      Koenigsegg Agera R
      Aston Martin One-77
      2013 Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series
      Subaru BRZ
      2013 Shelby Mustang GT500
      2012 Ford Mustang V8
      2013 Mecedes A-Class

    • May. 4, 6:18pm

      This isn’t a wishlist thread guys…

    • May. 5, 4:43am

      I knew you would say that Toko

    • May. 5, 12:51pm

      ^ Hehe. :)

  10. May. 4, 1:33pm

    Haha, the irony of seeing 1.5 more GT-Rs in a possible list of DLC (the Juke-R is pretty much half of a GT-R) but great list Jann
    it would be nice if that pack also had a GT-Academy driving suit pack for your Bobs

  11. May. 4, 12:33pm

    Yay the 550 M. Sweet one of my favorite ferraris. But the juke, really :( I understand why but common we all really want performance cars rite. I’m fine with it, bet it would be fun like the leaf but it’s the weirdest car. And finally silverstone one of my favorites.

    • May. 4, 12:38pm

      He said “Juke-R”. If you don’t think that’s a performance car, watch this:

      It’s a Juke with a GT-R engine and transmission stuffed into it. Just your 500hp.

    • May. 4, 12:48pm

      Wow nevermined that’s amazing

    • May. 4, 6:20pm

      I love Jann’s DLC #4 list, super awesome! The Juke-R, can’t wait to see how it’s like in GT5. :)

    • May. 5, 5:13am

      545bhp actually.

    • May. 5, 5:24am

      The 2010 concept – from the video and the one Jann drives at PR events – is 485hp, as it’s based on the 2009 GT-R. If they do a production run, as talked about recently, it’ll be based on the upgraded, 545hp 2012 GT-R. However, they don’t actually exist right now. The one that actually exists right now is the 485hp concept.

  12. May. 4, 10:04am
    Maddens Raiders

    What happened to my earlier comment? Anyway I thought this was a great interview.

    • May. 4, 11:13am
      Maddens Raiders

      Ha nevermind guys. I was still a bit hungover & didn’t see my prior comment :)

    • May. 4, 3:40pm

      FYI, Rounds 7 and 8 are the ones that count. Check the FAQ on Gran Turimo’s GT:A homepage, because I know you’re one of the people who might have problems competing during certain times.

      AND hungover? I feels you, man. lol

    • May. 6, 3:36am
      Maddens Raiders

      Hey thanks jak. Yeah still traveling. I’ve already missed the first of it, it seems. Anyway if what you’re saying is true, & I have no doubt it is then that’s great news. I do however, remember reading something about still being able to go back and play the older rounds or maybe I was just hopefully wishing hehe.

  13. May. 4, 9:51am

    Wow. Jann is one of the coolest people yet. I’m really happy for him. :) I also like his pick for the DLC as well, it’s a really great and special list. I LOVE the Nissan Juke-R and can’t wait for it, I’ve wanted to see that car in GT5 for quite sometime now. Thank you very very much Jann, you’ve inspired me just as much as Bryan had.

    I’m also happy to hear everything is going well for you lately, GT Academy must be one of the most funnest ones ever, and glad it exists.

    Super glad GT5 is a great tool as well, really gave Jann a blast at Monza. :D

    I wish Jann and the others from GT Academy the best of luck, and we’re behind you all the way 100%
    Awesome interview from Jordon and Jann, loved it. :)

    • May. 5, 3:42am

      Toko has been smokie smokie weird stuff again.

  14. May. 4, 9:18am
    Cote Dazur

    Very good interview with a racer that seems to be a very nice guy. Interesting info on different race lines at Monza.

  15. May. 4, 9:06am

    GT Academy really is one of the most tedious things ever invented.

    • May. 4, 9:09am

      I don’t follow…please elaborate

    • May. 4, 11:21am

      Just a bit cynical.

  16. May. 4, 7:46am

    “All of that training helped the GT Academy team get a 3rd in class at the Dubai 24h.”

    I watched a big part of that race. If only there weren’t any problems with the main 370z … Obviously, that’s a great part of racing, especially in endurance races, but still. At least we know the GT Academy winners are the real deal. Let’s hope Jann is determined enough to show his true potential in his future races. At such a young age, his racing bawls will only grow larger lol.

    Good luck, man!

  17. May. 4, 7:32am

    I appreciate his talent, he is in a place which all of us want and everything, but, he is such a kiss-ass isn’t he, first 2 choices are nissan. come on!

    • May. 4, 7:36am

      mate, not ferrari ff, not f12 berlinetta, he goes for 550 maranello. can not see his point, sorry.

    • May. 4, 7:38am
      Mac K

      Nope, he’s playing it smart. When someone sponsors you, you mention their product to the public at any chance you get. Great interview.

    • May. 4, 7:38am


    • May. 4, 7:44am

      Four of the choices are of cars of which he has direct experience (driven at least three, parents owned the fourth). One is a car he drives for fun, one is a car he drives for a living. He may well have direct experience of the fifth (the 550), I couldn’t say – but it wouldn’t surprise me. And, of course, he’s raced on the circuit he picked.

      When you’ve had a chance to actually drive the list, feel free to let us know if it’s ass-kissing or experience.

    • May. 4, 7:54am

      there is a different view point here, GT is a very realistic simulator right? then why do you want the car you have already know how to drive? you should go for the cars you may never have chance to try. it is funny how you respond tho.

      also I didn’t say anything to the silverstone.

    • May. 4, 8:10am

      As I said earlier, “one of GT’s strengths of including so many “ordinary” cars that people have actually owned. No other driving game gives so many people such a personal connection through including the cars we actually drive.”.

      It’s not just about the six-figure halo cars no-one gets to drive in real life. Well, except the Juke-R, but then he does get to drive that in real life…

    • May. 4, 8:21am

      I am sorry Famine, but I can not understand that they change the clio’s name to lutencia because of some stupid name right thing in japan and they count it one car, but they don’t do anything to the cockpit cam which is on the left side of that standard car. if you understand what I mean. I don’t think that people wants to drive that bunch, they want new cars, new cupra, r16.r, fiat 500 abarth esseesse, new clio etc. they are not six-figure cars. are they?

    • May. 4, 8:42am

      People predominantly want to drive cars they’ve actually driven, or experience some of their dream cars. Ask anyone what five cars they’d want and, most of the time, the list will include cars they’ve actually driven (or been driven about in). It’s the personal connection that GT has always brought right from the very first game. I see Jann’s choices are cars he’s directly experienced and it’s probable that the 550 is just the car he loved as a kid (don’t blame him – it’s one of the last truly good looking Ferraris).

      Not sure why the Clio/Lutecia is relevant to anything. No-one’s mentioned it.

      You want what you want. It’s personal to you. Win GT Academy this time and next year GTPlanet may well interview you and ask what you want – and then people can say you’re wrong and a kiss-ass…

    • May. 4, 8:45am


    • May. 4, 9:15am

      Totally agree with the personal connection. I’d pay to be able to drive my first car in the game .. rust and all :)

    • May. 4, 9:56am

      ^ Agreed.

    • May. 4, 11:18am

      Shoot, people look at like me like I’m crazy when I say I want a Nissan 240SX (s13) Hatchback. DLC content shouldn’t only be rich men cars. Look at Forza’s latest DLC; they added the Smart car and the 1977 AMC pacer lol.

    • May. 4, 9:01pm


      BOOO you!

    • May. 4, 9:02pm

      I thank Famine for being the voice of reason all the time.

    • May. 4, 9:12pm

      ahh famine…i own a 97 taurus and i drive the taurus alot,i might be the only 1 but i do,chromed it and put some DLC colors on mine too…

    • May. 4, 9:13pm

      i have about 10 tauruses now,pity u no longer can upgrade the reaR wing…..kaz,why for…

  18. May. 4, 6:41am

    BMW E30 318is :) Love that one!

    Great interview. Nice Job Jann. ;)

  19. May. 4, 5:20am

    nice intervies, thanks :)

    • May. 4, 7:56am

      All interviews on GTP seem to inspire me at least a bit. Hopefully, it inspires others too, whatever it is that gets people driven to succeed. I guess it’s the feeling of being connected with a common thing that does it.

  20. May. 4, 5:16am

    juke +1 :)

  21. May. 4, 4:58am

    Nice read thanks Famine :)

  22. May. 4, 4:16am

    I didn’t agree on the GT-R for the Jann Pack, but the Juke-R, Ferrari Maranello and Silverstone gave me two thumbs up!

    Good luck, Jann, on the whole Blancpain season!

    • May. 4, 4:25am

      The Peugeot 309 gave me the biggest grin – it’s every bit as good as its much more prized little brother the 205 GTI, but a bit more stable at speed. I’d buy one tomorrow if I could justify it!

      The BMW too – it highlights one of GT’s strengths of including so many “ordinary” cars that people have actually owned. No other driving game gives so many people such a personal connection through including the cars we actually drive.

    • May. 4, 9:58am

      +1000 Famine. :D

  23. May. 4, 3:31am

    Very nice read.
    Thanks Famine.

  24. May. 4, 3:18am

    I love how JM wants more GT-R’s in this game in the future DLC’s… LOOOOOOOOOOOOOL.

    • May. 4, 7:38am

      couldn’t agree more.

GTPlanet App
Free for iOS and Android.